At one point or another, owning a pool has been a dream of nearly every American. For 10 million of them, that dream has come true. However, with 50,929 pool service businesses, according to MarketResearch.com, the service landscape is quite fragmented, with quality of service and products varying drastically from market to market and customer to customer.
Pool Scouts was recently founded by Buzz Franchise Brands, the franchisor of sister company Mosquito Joe, with a mission to provide premier pool service while delivering a quality, consistent brand experience.
“Every time a customer orders a burger from McDonald’s, they expect the same ordering experience, prep time, delivery of product and taste – no matter what McDonald’s they go to,” said Kevin Wilson, CEO of Buzz Franchise Brands. “Why should pool service be any different? That expectation certainly should extend to a lifestyle luxury like a pool.”
Pool Scouts was created on the same principle as Mosquito Joe, one of the nation’s fastest growing franchises as named by Entrepreneur Magazine, and the leader in the mosquito elimination business: Customer satisfaction first.
“Our ultimate plan has been to create businesses where we can provide a first class experience for our customers,” Wilson said. “We researched many possibilities for our second brand and felt that Pool Scouts aligned nicely with our goal of providing a better quality service in a fragmented sector while also complementing the Mosquito Joe brand.”
In an industry rife with inconsistent business branding, practices and services, Pool Scouts is positioned to quickly take over market share. The U.S. market for swimming pool equipment and maintenance products was valued at over $3.4 billion in 2011 and climbing, according to the MarketResearch.com Swimming Pool Equipment and Maintenance Products, 2nd Edition report.
The first Pool Scouts location, which is already up and running, was created from a recent acquisition of a local pool construction company’s service arm, and is being corporately run out of the Buzz Franchise Brands headquarters in Virginia Beach. With the acquisition came a core group of customers and technical talent. The brand is looking at a strong debut season with an advantage for customer acquisition in its first spring/summer season as more than 25 percent of local Mosquito Joe customers own a pool. Similar ratios of pool ownership to Mosquito Joe customers exist in the other 210-plus Mosquito Joe territories across the country.
“The launch of Pool Scouts is certainly valuable for our existing Mosquito Joe customers,” said Gwen Marsh, Marketing Manager for Pool Scouts. “It is also valuable for the 100-plus Mosquito Joe franchise owners who are looking for ways to diversify their businesses and serve more customers.”
Michael Wagner, Pool Scouts’ President, said diversification of business portfolios, conversions, and methodical expansions are key factors in the Pool Scouts growth strategy.
“Ideally, we would like to end 2016 with six Pool Scouts franchisees,” he said, noting that Mosquito Joe went from 50-plus locations in 2013 to 100-plus in 2014 and ended 2015 with more than 200 locations sold. “We expect to recruit several business-minded entrepreneurs to secure top tier territories, convert a few small pool services companies, and have a few Mosquito Joe franchisees add a Pool Scouts franchise to their portfolio.”
Similar to Mosquito Joe’s initial growth model, Pool Scouts will start franchising with the lowest franchise fee in the industry, $7,500, with a total initial all-in cost between $54,500 and $98,000. With no need for a physical retail location, a recurring revenue model, and a leadership team capable of running a 500-unit company, Pool Scouts will be a competitive force in the most active pool markets in America.
“We want to incentivize the right people to join our brand,” Wagner said. “We are going to eliminate as many obstacles as possible so that we can find the best operators who will run with the best practices, just as we have done with Mosquito Joe.”